The school boards in Ann Arbor and nearby Whitmore Lake have voted to pursue Ann Arbor Public Schools' annexation of the much smaller school district to the north of the city.
Over the past few years, Whitmore Lake Public Schools has suffered steep enrollment drops as the community's population declined – and the district is moving grades out of its middle school building this fall to balance its budget.
Voters will decide the question in November. A "yes" vote in both communities would result in annexation next July.
Mlive’s Amy Biolchini quoted Ann Arbor school board President Deb Mexicotte:
“I see the potential in two districts becoming stronger, building a greater regional presence, as well as creating new opportunities for students of both districts… There are a lot of things we need to work out.”
One issue that’s unclear is how the millages from each district would be allocated into the expanded district, according to Biolchini.
After much discussion, the districts' bond counsel confirmed that the potential net tax impact in the first year will be a .2 mill decrease in the taxes Whitmore Lake pays and a .5 mill increase in the taxes Ann Arbor pays.
Meanwhile, Biolchini notes that annexation is relatively uncommon. Just four school districts have been annexed by other Michigan school districts in the past 10 years.